Tuesday 30 January 2018

A Week to be Wild by J C Harroway Blog Tour

This was my first dance with your good self, are all your books like this or is this one different?

I write steamy contemporary romance—what can I say! I’m addicted to the Happy Ever After, both writing them and reading them. I have four other contemporary romances published with Escape Publishing—Recovery, Entwined, Devoted and Exposed—but A Week To Be Wild is my first Mills and Boon and I’m so excited to writ for this iconic brand.

What research do you do for your books?

Well I live in New Zealand, so I have to do a fair amount of research about London, as many of my books are set there. Other research mainly revolves around my characters’ professions and I’m always searching for answers to fun questions like ‘Can you take a helicopter flight over Central London’, ’list of UK wineries’ , and ‘What is the helicopter flight time between London and Oxfordshire….

Are the characters based on anyone you know, if not what inspiration do you have for them?

No! Absolutely not. I usually start with a visual, run an image search for brunette women in 20’s etc. When I have an image in my head, I plan out the personality traits depending on where the plot is going and what conflict I want to give the characters. So Alex, for example, is wealthy and rocks a Savile Row suit, but he’s an IT giant. He would have grown up passionate about all things computers/gaming, so I also have him dressed down in jeans and nerdy graphic t-shirts as a nod to his geek past.

Libby, by her own admission is normally not a swoony woman ruled by her hormones, what made you switch this for her?

I wanted her to be completely thrown by meeting Alex. At the start of the story she’s in a rut. Her love life is non-existent, she works too hard and steers clear of anything that triggers painful memories from her past. Meeting Alex brings out something in her she didn’t know existed or thought long dormant. Of course this loss of control freaks her out, which is why she’s determined to play Alex at his own game—if she’s suffering, she’s taking him down with her…

Sex and erotica are huge themes and focus for the book, however there are other issues and depths to both characters. How important was including this for you?

DARE is a passionate line, the heat level graphic and explicit, but at the heart of any romance novel, is a good love story, and that’s vital. I don’t write erotica. Without too many spoilers, by the end of A Week To Be Wild, I want the reader to have travelled an emotional journey with Alex and Libby, a journey to their happy ending—I’m all about the fall and the rush of endorphins when a couple overcome the obstacles to be together.

Who are your favourite authors to read and or that inspire you?

I’m currently loving reading the other DARE titles by my fellow DARE authors Clare Connelly, Jackie Ashenden, Lisa Childs and Anne Marsh and I’m planning on working my way through all the Dares, because they are exactly the kind of stories I like to read. But I love romance in all it’s forms so I read widely and voraciously! If it’s a love story with a HEA, I’m there.

What’s next for J C Harroway?

I’m currently working on my 4th and 5th titles for DARE—my Faulkner Brothers Series—three English bachelors running a hotel empire based in Chelsea. So it’s safe to say writing more sexy romance is in my future! I love my job…

Where can fans connect with you?

I love to connect with romance fans- we need to stick together, right? I can be found at www.jcharroway.com, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where I post pics of my cute fluffy white dog, amongst other things. And for fans of DARE, there’s a fan group on Facebook aptly named DAREdevils, where we talk about all things DARE! Come and join us.

Anything else you want to add I haven’t asked? I strive to bring diversity and representation into my stories, so will often touch on disability and mental health, as normalising these common aspects of life is important to me. Everyone faces real life issues, big and small. A characters journey should be a reflection of real life, with a large dollop of escapism thrown in for entertainment. That’s what I love about reading and writing romance.

There are only a few days left on the blog tour, please be sure to check them out, see the picture below for the rest of the stops.

And if a Q&A isn't enough, we really are spoiling you now, you can win a brand new paperback copy of A Week to be Wild. Open to all, just use the Rafflecopter below to enter. I am sure by now you all know how it works, the more entries you complete the more times your name goes into the draw. Good luck!

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Monday 29 January 2018

The Chalk Man by C J Tudor

The Chalk ManThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 342

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank... until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

My Review

What a fantastic debut novel, I had bought this after reading a few reviews and then bumped it up my TBRM (to be read mountain) after it was chosen for the Crime Book Club book of the month. A duo timeline see's us go to 1986 with Eddie and his friends, using chalk men and codes for each other. When "the chalk man" leads them to find a body everything changes. Flip to present day, the group are grown up and receive a message with a chalk man it seems the past never really does stay in the past.

So it took me a few chapters to settle into this one, you know which time period you are in as it is clearly marked. The timeline with the kids was, I felt, really well done, the expressions they use, the chain of thought for kids of that age and time. I always find things like that can make or break a book, authentic voices are really needed and help draw the reader in. I heard a few people are saying it has ripped off IT by Stephen King? I have read and seen the book/movie several times and I can tell you it DOES NOT at all. The only stretch of similarity you could say was there is a childhood group of friends, duo timeline of the 80's and present day and an incident with a stone which in the 80's we all have many stories with stones, rocks or boulders.

Some scenes are a bit eerie, there is tension, murder, violence, excitement and I found myself drawn in relatively quickly to find out what happened then. What happens next and what, if any, relevance the past has to the presence. You would never know this was a debut novel, well I wouldn't think so and I read hundreds of books. I would love to read more about these characters and hope maybe the author will revisit them at some point. Worth a watching and I absolutely will be reading this author again, 4/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 25 January 2018

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

The String DiariesThe String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 416

Publisher - Headline

Source - Waterstones

Blurb from Goodreads

A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer.

The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore ... until he comes face to face with a myth.

For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run.

But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations.

And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.

My Review

Hannah is on the run, something is coming for her, her little girl and her badly hurt husband but what and why? The story opens with Hannah trying to escape a force we do not see but feel the threat of it almost from the first page. We flit chapter to chapter with different timelines, present day (Wales), the 1870's (Hungary) and the 1970's Oxford introducing Hannah's parents and the origins of what they are running from.

It took a wee bit for me to get into the swing of the other stories and I just wanted to get back to Hannah and find out what it is that is chasing them. Slowly, by following the others stories we are introduced to other key characters all providing a better understanding of everything that follows. You soon get caught up in the time period and characters you are reading and wishing each new chapter was back to the previous ones.

It is an interesting story, shapshifters, love, sacrifice, obsession and family are just some of the themes in this book. Many of the scenes are tense, eerie and keep you engaged to see where it is going. I have never read this author before and I will be reading him again, I bought the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one, 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me (Me Before You, #3)Still Me by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 496

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Borrowed

Blurb from Goodreads

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what's happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets--not all her own--that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

My Review

Oh how I have missed Lou Clark. Guys if you don’t know, this is the third book in a trilogy, if you haven’t read the previous two please do so before reading this, you need it for the back story. Lou (Louisa) has taken the plunge and heading to a new job for a super rich family in New York, Nathan is there and promises there is no hidden secrets like before.

Oh you have to love Lou, she is so down to earth that pretty much everyone can relate to her. She gets in embarrassing situations, says the wrong things, has the same relationship issues with families, partners and puts her foot in it often. This is what makes her so lovable, she is so very human,you cringe for her, you laugh with her and you feel for her.

The new job sees her basically as a companion, go for, sounding board for her new madam who I had very mixed feelings for. Moyes has the ability to bring characters very much to life with their flaws, rudeness, humility and I bloody love the wee dog character, name and attitude!

As well as adjusting to being away from home, surrounded by ridiculous wealth, Lou is trying to juggle a long distance relationship when she meets someone who flings up many feelings from the past. Questioning her relationship, what she wants, dealing with the family dramas of her own and her new employers it is anything but dull for Lou or the readers. I woud have sank this in one sitting had life allowed for it, as it was I just grabbed it every free minute I could. I love the Clarks, I love Lou and I love that Moyes has managed to stay faithful to the heart of the story and the characters which can’t be easy with the third book. 5/5 for me this time, do I want more of Lou and the Clarks? Absolutely but if there is no more to come I am delighted to go back to the three book, Me Before You is one of my all time favourites but the whole trilogy is something special! You can get your hands on this beauty from tomorrow, 25/1/2018.

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Monday 22 January 2018

The Bucktown Babies by Janine R Pestel Blog Tour

Today I am kicking off the blog tour for The Bucktown Babies, a supernatural book with demons, skulduggery and danger at almost every corner! Thanks Janine for stopping by and taking time out to answer some questions.

Q: First thing I have to ask, what inspired the book?

A: The idea for the book “The Bucktown Babies” pretty much just “popped” into my head one day. I was driving, and this idea about a gun toting nun who fought zombies and demons came to me. I thought it over, and it eventually morphed into a former priest who fought demons. I did some research, and found the demon that was responsible for infant mortality and miscarriages, and “The Bucktown Babies” was born.

Q: Will there be more to the series?

A: Oh, yes. Lots more. The second book in the series “The Raven Flies at Night” has just been published by my publisher – Creativia Publishing. In that book, which is a little darker than “The Bucktown Babies,” something is revealed that will take the series in a new, darker, direction.

Q: I was left with a lot of questions, was this deliberate as there will be more books?

A: Yes. It is a continuing series, and in each book, there will be answers…and, of course, more questions.

Q: Will all questions be answered in future books?

A: All questions will be answered…eventually. Some questions were even answered in the first book, although the answers were subtle – the lack of religion in the town, etc.

Q: Demons are the main entity in the book however another unnatural appeared, will this theme continue in other books?

A: Yes. Sometimes demons use “other entities” to help them fight. These entities could sometimes be things like Banshees, or sometimes the undead. I tend to like it when unexpected things happen, because in real live, the unexpected happens.

Q: What research did you do for the book and did you enjoy it? Anything freaky or unusual to share?

A: I researched demons. I wanted to find out what demons were responsible for what evils. This way, there is a little bit of accuracy in the books in the series. Take, for instance, the demon in “The Bucktown Babies.” If you google that demon, or look it up in demonology, you will find that it is the demon that is responsible for infant mortality and miscarriages.

Q: This is the first book I have read by you, do you have others and if so are they of the same genre?

A: I have earlier books that I have written. The first book I wrote was a science fiction novella titled “The Mons Connection.” The inspiration for that book came from Ancient Alien theory. I also have four short stories, three of them horror – “The Servants,” “Harry,” “The Visit” and one of them I wrote to help people heal after losing a pet – “Wait at the Rainbow Bridge.” “The Visit,” is actually not horror…more of a touching story. The last ting I have would be a small compilation of horror stories – “Infected and Other Short Stories.” This compilation has the short story “Infected”, along with “Harry,” “The Servants,” and “The Visit.” There are also audiobooks of several of my books.

Q: What is next for Janine?

A: To continue the “Father Gunter, Demon Hunter” series, along with some new ideas that I have for a new series and a few stand-alone horror stories. I’m hoping for at least 3 new books to be published in 2018.

Q: Where can fans find you?

A: They can like me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JanineRPestel they can also follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/janinerpestel or my website at http://www.janinepestel.com One final note: I am always looking for people to join my “street team”. For details, visit my website.

Q: Anything else you may want to ask that I might have missed?

A: Not that I can think of. Thank you so much for interviewing me. It has been my pleasure.

Thank you so much Janine for a great Q&A, I look forward to the next in the series. Please check out the other stops on the blog tour as shown in the poster below. Many thanks to Anne Cater for arranging a great blog tour, asking me on it and introducing me to a new spooky series.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Reflection by Diane Chamberlain

ReflectionReflection by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Over 4 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

The author of Brass Ring and Fire and Rain delivers an edge-of-your-seat story filled with secrets, surprises, and psychological suspense. Returning to the small Pennsylvania Dutch town of Reflection, Rachel Huber must confront the tragedy that caused her to leave twenty years before."One of the premier writers of contemporary fiction." -- "Romantic Times" Diane Chamberlain's background as a psychotherapist and clinical social worker is evident in her psychologically complex characters.Will appeal to fans of the novels of Anne Rivers Siddons, Barbara Delinsky, and Rosamunde Pilcher.

My Review

Rachel Huber is back in Reflection, the small town she left decades ago under a cloud of hate, shame and distrust. When her gran Helen has an accident Rachel goes back without a second thought, so many years have passed, she needs to reconnect with her gran and face her past. As Helen's health recovers and they get to know each other, Rachel finds the town still shuns and blames her for what happened. Rachel confronts her past,finds that she isn't the only one with secrets, the past never stays in the past and old feelings have never really gone away.

I do enjoy a small town drama, we know something bad happened but it is hinted at and teased out. The focus centres on Helen and Rachel, the family estranged and now brought together when both need it most. Rachel's oldest friend Michael is now a religious man and the heart of the village, his followers are torn between their loyalty and his friendship with Rachel, her past and their seeming closeness.

Weaved with so many issues, family secrets, PTSD, religion, infidelity, love, lies, death and small town grudges it engages the reader quickly. As we flip from present day and dip into the past, the story gives us insight into the characters and what shapes them into who they are, what they have endured and what is still to come. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, I do enjoy Chamerlain, I have read her before and I will read her again.

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Friday 19 January 2018

When All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

When All the Girls Have GoneWhen All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Paitkus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Five women out for justice
One ruthless killer
A secret that's sure to get out

In this elite investment club, the stakes are literally life or death . . .

Founder of an exclusive society with a hidden agenda, Madison Benson has carefully handpicked her members, choosing the four most fearless and skilled/intelligent women she knows. But when one member is found dead and another goes missing, it seems like the club may finally have taken one risk too many. Now it won't be long before the rest of them are hunted down and silenced...

Into this secretive world steps Charlotte Sawyer, who is desperate to find her step-sister, the beautiful, brilliant - and reckless - Jocelyn, and deliver the terrible news that one of her closest friends has been murdered. Yet Jocelyn is nowhere to be found and slowly Charlotte begins to realise that her step-sister is involved in something terrible. Running out of time and unable to trust the police, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI whose previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn's past are threatening to consume her - and anyone else who gets in the way . . .

My Review

Jocelyn is the founder of a secret group, after her own past horror she and four other females they met out justice as they see fit. When Jocelyn takes off for a break and her close friend is found dead her sister Charlotte releases Jocelyn isn't where she is meant to be and there are a lot of questions about her friends death. Max Cutler is a private investigator hired to look into the death, soon him and Charlotte are working together to unravel the mystery of the death and her sisters disappearance. They more they dig they soon realise something isn't right and before they know it they are in grave danger and a killer is on the loose.

This is my first dance with this author, a story that starts with an apparent drug overdose, an unbelieving relative and a private detective kicking everything off. Max and Charlotte find themselves drawn to each other, a mystery to solve, danger afoot and both aware of their feelings but cautious due to their past.

There is a decent amount of action within the book, a clever murderer, a rapist, family secrets, friendship, loyalty, deceit and a race against the clock to try and solve the mystery and stay alive. Charlotte is a character that irritated me a little initially, she is lovely and loyal but you just want her to react to a particular situation. However, as the book progresses we see Charlotte start to bloom, in a very unusual set of circumstances her character grows and adapts, I really warmed to her.

A crime thriller with so many themes running through to keep you turning page after page. I did enjoy this overall and whilst this was my first dance with this author it won't be my last. 3.5 stars for me this time, thanks to Bookbridgr for introducing me to a new author.

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Monday 15 January 2018

January blues

It is something a lot of people do actually get. It is a five week month, lots of people are feeling the effects from Christmas, money is generally tight. For some of us it has also included a personal loss, re addressing some issues or some folk just struggle with a new year, for some it is a time for new beginnings. I think we can all agree, any kind of January blues suck!

Something that always cheers me up is RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness), so as well as doing a wee giveaway in a fairies club and a book club, I thought I would list another competition on here. Remember there is already a giveaway for Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater along with a Q&A which is opened until the end of the month, click here.

So I will put this open to all, up for grabs is a wee totebag, I picked up loads of this kind of stuff on my last Las Vegas visit, specifically for comps. A booklight, as pictured and a magnetic bookmark with Paris on it, all brand new and as pictured.

Entry is via Rafflecopter as always, the more entries you complete the more times your name is entered into the draw. The competition will run until the end of the month.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 14 January 2018

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

The Sewing MachineThe Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Unbound

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

My Review

Firstly, I just want to comment on the cover, mine was an eBook however the cover for the paperback is exactly as the wee attached picture. It has so much detail without being over the top, flashy or in your face but when you pick it up and actually look at it, especially after reading the story, it is really something. The story itself concentrates on three main characters, Jean starting in 1911, Connie in 1954 and up to date is Fred in 2016. Three characters in different times, relatively different circumstances, different individuals all with one thing in common, sewing machines. It doesn't sound like a massive pull or overly interesting but guys, trust me, this is a great wee book.

Jean is torn between doing what is right, supporting her fellow workers in a time when every penny really does count and going against her father to take part in a strike that impacts on her future. Connie is a genteel soul, living with her mother and settled in what little life has given her, a dab hand with her sewing machine she has no idea her skills will bring forth change to her life. And lastly Fred, his life is upside down, a bereavement brings much changes and he commences on a journey of self examination and growth with unexpected surprises along the way.

Oh you would think anything about a sewing machine, especially with three individuals having them in their stories to be dull, a chore to get into. You would be absolutely wrong, this book is a gem that has many layers revealing its history and with each chapter drawing the reader into the world of families, relationships, hardships and issues that are evident for each despite the time differences.

For me I think the book grabbed me more because bereavements are in it and we just lost a family member last week. The act of going through his family history in memories from the flat, Fred is discovering as much about himself as he is his grandparents. Clearing out a home conjures up so many memories and questions not to mention emotions, the author encapsulates this perfectly. Sentences written that are absolutely time appropriate, words used both things that evoked personal memories for me and I imagine other readers. "...she heard their firmly-sprung letter box snapped closed." I remember the brass letterboxes we all had in the eighties that did exactly that, along with ripping the top layer of skin off before it banged shut.

I don't feel I am doing this book justice but it is hard to give examples without giving anything away, the book is beautifully written and you would never guess this is a debut novel. The authors voice is strong and she has a gift for bringing you into a time where even if you weren't born then you can easily envision the time, smells, sounds, feelings and issues. Three timelines go along with the main characters and are clearly marked, signposted and easy to follow. I genuinely hope this author is working on her next novel, maybe more from these characters or in the same period. I do love books that give unexpected gifts and trips down memory lane are something you are always grateful for. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley for bringing a book to my attention I may have otherwise have missed. I will be buying a copy of this for a few friends who I think will enjoy it as much, if not more, than I have, an author worth watching I think!

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Saturday 13 January 2018

Rosie by Lesley Pearse

RosieRosie by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 4 days

Pages - 628

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Bought online (I think)

Blurb from Goodreads

Can good come from evil?

Will Rosie ever escape from her brutal brothers?

As a child Rosie Parker spent the war years battling her brutish half-brothers Seth and Norman on the farm under the less-than-watchful eye of her father Cole. But when housekeeper Heather Farley arrives, Rosie finds a mother - and a friend - to look after her.

Several years later, Thomas Farley comes to find his sister. Rosie can only tell him that she disappeared in mysterious circumstances, abandoning her small son Alan. Determined to get young Alan and Rosie out of the clutches of Cole and his sons, Thomas helps unearth a terrible truth about the family. A truth that forces Rosie away from the farm and out into a cruel world where she must somehow come to terms with her shocking past. Is it possible that the man who brought ruin on her family might also bring happiness to Rosie?

My Review

Rosie sets off a chain off events when she intervenes and rescues her little brother, Alan, from her father and brothers. Thomas Farley has come looking for his sister, who mysteriously went missing leaving behind her son Alan, and finds out about his nephew. Rosie has no idea how one action can impact on so many lives, she is about to find out.

Very family centred the story focuses on many aspects of relationships that revolve around the different individuals. Rosie and her brothers and father, Thomas and his sister, the relationships she makes when she leaves her family home and those that follow.

Rosie is focused on helping others and gets experience in a mental health hospital environment where she is met with hostility and many obstacles for one so young. The story has some very dark lines, sexual abuse, physical abuse, murder, sexual deviancy, relationships are a huge focus, friendship and loyalty. It pulls the reader in pretty much from the first chapter and whilst some of the scenes are very disturbing the bonds some of the people make and strength of character shown by some is inspiring.

A very mixed bag, some scenes so realistic it really is hard to get through due to the brutality of it but it is testament to the authors writing skills she can create such realism. I have read this author before and I absolutely will read her again, she is one of those authors you buy up her back catalogue based on the strength of what you have just read, 4/5 for me.

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Friday 12 January 2018

Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson

Alex Cross, Run (Alex Cross, #20)Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 512

Publisher - Arrow

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads

There are three killers loose and Alex Cross is on the case for them all, with a family crisis at home things are looking bad for Alex, more so when he becomes the target of a hate campaign. Alex may be a fabulous man of the law but he is human and when pushed so far even Alex will react.

This is a busy wee book, we see Alex facing clever criminals as we have come to expect over the series and some family issues. The newest looks to threaten his family circle, the media are watching, the public are following the smear campaign and the killers are getting blood thirsty.

We know who the killers are, the pair working together are sadists, sexual aspects to the crime and getting more risky. To be honest there were, for me, quite a few questions about these guys and I think with there being so many aspects and different angles to the story something would be left overlooked. It is a busy tale and as always keeps the readers interest, I do hate being left questioning things though I am sure many will be happy with how things are tied up.

I have read Patterson before and will read him again, I enjoy the short chapters which allow for dipping in and out of as time allows. If you enjoy Patterson's previous Cross books I am sure you will enjoy this one, I have loved his previous offerings and feel for me, this one wasn't quite as strong as the others, 3/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 11 January 2018

The Bucktown Babies by Janine R Pastel

The Bucktown BabiesThe Bucktown Babies by Janine R Pestel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - ebook ?

Publisher - Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

In this gripping thriller, we see that demons are real and they like the souls of babies and unborn children alike. Father Gunter is a demon's worst nightmare. But even he will need help to destroy the demon that is killing the babies of Bucktown, a small farming community. Help does come, but from a very unlikely, and unexpected, source. Will it be enough to see the demon hunter through the final showdown with evil? If Father Gunter can find and kill the demon who is harming babies in Bucktown, he will be that much closer to finding the demon that took his sister from him. He knows she's not dead. She can't be.

My Review

Father Gunter is a man on a mission, ex priest now demon hunter, searching for his sister he is also keeping an eye out for where he is needed. Bucktown is having an unusual amount of child deaths and miscarriages, he knows he is needed and heads in to investigate. He finds assistance in an unlikely ally and sets out to stop the demon!

This is the first book in a series and absolutely sets the foundations for the next book(s) in the series. Father Gunters back story is offered in segments throughout the book in between the hunt for the demon. Some of the scenes are eerie and you can feel the tension building as Gunter tries to make sense of the deaths, identify what is going on and go after the demon.

There is action, intrigue, suspense and a few hair raising moments where we see the main character deal with evil and supernatural beings. I think the author has created a foundation for a fabulously dark world that really boils down to good and evil with all kinds of sideline issues. Family, personal, the solid beliefs of a (ex) priest with some of his faith now missing after a previous encounter with evil. It has a promising start and I really look forward to seeing what is next in store for Gunter but more so getting answers to my questions. I did enjoy a fair amount of this book but I was left with so many questions and some readers love being kept in suspense but I am a nosey riot and cannot wait to be in the know. 3.5 stars out for 5 for me this time, the author has previous published work that I will have a nosey at, however this was my first introduction to her work.

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Tuesday 9 January 2018

Life of Crime by Kimberley Chambers

Life of CrimeLife of Crime by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as and when I could over 2 days

Pages - 528

Publisher - HarperCollins

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

If you could get away with the perfect crime - would you?


My Review

Meet Jason Rampling, this is his story, a bit of a jack the lad, fingers in many pies, ducking and diving and looking for a mother for his kid. When he is zeroed in on by the flighty Tracey it is her quiet plain friend who catches his eye. There begins the story of Jason and Melissa, Melissa can't believe he would pick her over Tracey, she is used to playing second fiddle to her friend. But pick her he did, his Shay needs a mother and Melissa could be the answer to all his prayers.

So this is a different kind of story from Chambers, still skulduggery, crime, relationship woes and some very steamy/graphic sexual scenes. However, she doesn't fall into the formulaic pattern some writers do when they write a fair amount of books of the same genre. The characters are fresh, the story lines hook you from the get go and provoke emotions and responses from the reader, well it did for me. Fury at how Melissa is treated by a few of her so called loved ones and friends. The story is original, fresh, keeps you on the edge of your seat to find out what skulduggery is coming next.

I have never been one of those readers who guesses everything, I think even those who do will be kept on their toes with this one. I think one of the reasons I like Chambers work so much is because she never disappoints, that said I always have the fear picking up her newest offerings, just in case lol. Humour, sex, anger, violence, secrets, betrayal and don't forget the swearing are all included in Life of Crime, if you enjoyed Chambers previous offerings you will love this. 5/5 for me this time, I am sure I have read all her books and eagerly await her next. Life of Crime is out to buy from 11/01/18 from all good retailers.

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Monday 8 January 2018

Secrets by Lesley Pearse

SecretsSecrets by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read -

Pages - 548

Publisher - Penguin Books

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

Can truth stay hidden for ever?

Set in the 1930's, the classic novel from bestselling author Lesley Pearse tells the story of one girl's struggle against cruelty and, her quest for love.

Twelve-year-old Adele Talbot's unhappy mother Rose succumbs to madness after a family tragedy and Adele is placed in a bleak children's home. But when her trust is betrayed she runs away - hoping to find her grandmother in Sussex.

By the time she does so, Adele is desperately ill and has to be nursed back to health among the beautiful Rye Marshes. And then she meets the wonderful Michael Bailey.

As friendship blossoms into love and they come of age together - Adele becoming a nurse and Michael joining the RAF - she believes she can put her troubled past behind her. But with the outbreak of war and the sudden appearance of Rose, bearing shocking family secrets, suddenly all of Adele's hopes appear impossibly fragile ...

My Review

Life has never been very kind to Adele, ignored and abused by her parents, when a tragic accident forces Adele to takes off to find her grand mother. Used and abused, Adele finally makes it to a safe haven, finding love and acceptance with her grand mother and meeting Michael. We follow her growing up, getting a career and finally finding her place, despite world war two going on. However as is the way, the past rears its ugly head and Adele finds everything she loves being threatened and the past no longer able to be ignored.

I do love Pearse, she covers some very tough topics and "Secrets" is no exception. Abuse, neglect, briefly paedophilia, relationships, family, secrets, war and friendship to name but a few. Poor Adele is just a child when we meet her and deprived of basic care, love and mistreated by those meant to love and cherish her. We watch her bloom and grow, relationships form and the social issues presented between the classes in the 1930/1940s.

I can't say which story lines I favoured most because there were so many, in fact I don't think I could pick out one I hated. Obviously the paedophilia one made my skin crawl and I hated the perpetrator, in fact both the individuals. Everyone else I think shaped the story perfectly, it was emotive and keeps the reader hooked page after page. 5 stars for me this, I have another few of Pearse on my TBRM and will be buying the others I have still to read.

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Sunday 7 January 2018

A Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman

A Home for Broken HeartsA Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 3 days

Pages - 381

Publisher - Ebury Press

Source - Book shop


Once upon a time, Ellen Woods had her 'happily ever after' moment when she married her beloved Nick. But fifteen years later her husband's tragic death leaves her alone with their soon-to-become-a-teenager son and a mountain of debt.

On the verge of losing the family home Ellen decides to rent out some rooms, and all too soon a whole host of characters enter her ordered but fragile existence – each with their own messy life in tow. But will this be enough to pull her out of her grief so she can learn to live – and love – again?

My Review

Ellen's whole world is turned upside down when her husband Nick dies, leaving her and her young son Charlie to pick up the pieces. The bills are rolling in when Ellen's sister Hannah comes up with a plan, rent out the rooms of the house. Soon Ellen has there lodgers, Sabine who has left her husband, Matt is beautiful, young and a Lothario and writes about his exploits for a male audience. Lastly one of Ellen's all time favourite authors, Allegra is in need of somewhere to stay and Ellen's services with her newest book. But Ellen soon finds that bringing strangers into her home is bringing them into her life and to move to the future we need to address our past.

There is so much going on in this wee book and so many issues and emotions covered. Matt is a playboy, it works with his job and he is a bit of an empty vase, pretty to look at it, hollow inside. However, coming into the domesticity of Ellen's home he sees there is more to life than "kiss and tell". Charlie is trying to look after his mum whilst dealing with growing up and the loss of his father. Ellen is now a and lady, still a grieving widow, lost in a sea of emotions and problems she wasn't even aware of. Allegra is a bit of a spoiled madam, set in her ways, popular author and very good at what she does, however even she comes into her own in the brief glimpses she is in the book. We also get to read some of her new book, in italics so you know it isn't the main story, of a heroine in peril at cruel men with one track minds.

Despite it being a busy book it is very easy to follow, life lessons aplenty without being preachy or in your face. The characters are easily to get into and despite having this author on my tbrm for a long time this is my first dance with her. 3.5 stars for me this time, she has a lovely writing style that invites the reader in and you can easily loose yourself in it for a few hours.

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Wednesday 3 January 2018

Behind Her Back by Jane Lythell

Behind Her Back (StoryWorld, #2)Behind Her Back by Jane Lythell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - approx 9 hours

Pages - 368

Publisher - Head of Zeus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

The second StoryWorld novel set in the glamorous, pressurized world of a live London TV station.

StoryWorld is the nation's favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the cauldron of conflicts and resentments that constantly simmers off-stage.

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the heated world of live TV. Liz Lyon must balance the monster egos at work with the demands of her teenage daughter – and the man she's just started dating – at home. It's all in a day's work.

My Review

This is book two in the StoryWorld series, I haven't read the first and don't feel I have missed out or less enjoyment as a result. Liz Lyon is the glue that keeps the feisty team of StoryWorld together. Live TV that covers so much content, celebrities, news, fashion, cooking you name it they do it but juggling many divas. Fizzy has been off on maternity leave and is now heading back, however the team have a new member Lori Kerwell whose focus is profitability. Whilst Liz and Lori class, Fizzy finds herself battling to keep her place, tempers are affray and some people will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Ooooooh all the dramas! The bitchy world of getting ahead in the world of TV, who knew eh? I really only picked this up last night to read one chapter, I was still reading it into the wee hours of the morning. It isn't a murder mystery or anything like that, it is "office" politics, underhanded tactics, back stabbing, relationships, bitchiness and stepping over folk to get to the next rung of the career ladder. I couldn't wait to see what next, what X, Y, Z had planned and who could you actually trust.

There is a family element to it too, Liz is juggling her life as a woman still in her prime but with a teenage daughter and all the spikiness that comes with it. Fizzy is a new mother, ambitious career woman and trying to keep a secret whilst everyone and their granny want all the dirt! I found the whole workings of a TV network actually quite interesting too. I have read this author before and not only do I have another on my TBRM I enjoyed this one so much I just bought the first in the series, 99p for it on kindle. I am looking forward to finding out a bit more about the characters I just met and hope there is more coming from this series. This book is available to buy in all formats at time of posting. My thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this and introducing me to new characters and an interesting world, 4/5 for me.

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Tuesday 2 January 2018

Home For Christmas by Annie Groves

Home for Christmas (Article Row, #2)Home for Christmas by Annie Groves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - In and out over 3 days

Pages - 311

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

'Home for Christmas' is a tale of four very different young women thrown together by war. Finding freedom and independence - as well as love, passion and heartbreak - for the very first time, a unique bond is formed as the hostilities take their toll on Britain.

My Review

Set in 1940 the story centres around no. 13 Article Row in London, bombs are dropping daily but life must go on. Sally, Tilly, Agnes and Dulcie are all living with Tilly's mother Olive, a kind hearted lady pulling together to survive another day. Sally fled from Liverpool after a betrayal, now working as a nurse. Dulcie is all about the attention and men, Tilly is a sweet girl who catches the eye of an American, Agnes finally gets to meet her beloveds family and has to deal with the dramas that follow. With all their personal dilemmas each is faced with survival, rationing and trying to enjoy life in such dangerous times.

I do enjoy nursing stories although this one only has brief snippets of nursing as it is mainly the relationship/friendship being the heart of the story. Relationship issues, courting, family issues, betrayal, friendships all during the war. Dulcie would be my least favourite character, she comes across quite shallow, working in a pricey department store Dulcie knows the life she wants. She always has to be the centre of attention and her friendships I think would be severely tested in modern day. Her background story, we only get snippets of that which does go a way to explain her behaviour. I think some folk will love her but I couldn't warm to her. Sally can't get over her past which impacts on her current situation and we do revisit that. Agnes a fair few issues many of us could relate to, meeting her future inlaws, trying to keep the peace and not upset her betrothed. And Tilly and Olive are just really sweet lovely characters, the relationship between mother and daughter warms the cockles.

It is a lovely wee Christmas read, it has a dash of everything. I could have read it in one sitting to be honest, it is one of those books you can just slip into. Despite it being book two, I hadn't known this, I didn't feel disadvantaged at all. I will get the first one and read the next in the series, I found the writing easy to get into. The characters, there will be at least one if not more characters for the reader to relate to and like or dislike them you do engage in the story and want to know what is coming next for them. 4/5 for me this time, I absolutely will read this author again.

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Q&A with Karl Drinkwater

Welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time Karl. Thanks for taking time out for a bit of a grilling with me. FYI readers, there are some swear words ahead!

So "Lost Solace", for anyone who hasn’t read it or heard of it, tell us what is it about?

If I was being flippant, I’d say it is the first of a trilogy about a kick-arse pair of women taking on every-fucking-threat in the universe, including the military-industrial complex, and still finding time for noodles and sisterhood. I don’t want to list their main goal, because it’s one of the revelations at the end of Lost Solace. If I was being serious, I’d say it’s a sci-fi book with a heart that gives me the chance to ask questions. What is strength and humanity? Can a machine feel things like a human? How does a woman make her way in a man’s world? And how far will someone go to keep a promise?

You normally write horror, what made you change over to sci fi genre?

To be honest, horror is what I’m best known for, but it’s only one of the genres I write in. For example, my Manchester 2000 books are purely about finding love and happiness, and how our pasts and our obsessions sometimes get in the way of that; one of my current works-in-progress is a literary and contemporary short-story collection with a big focus on love and ethics. My primary interest is telling a story; the genre and style evolve out of that. My books contain different combinations of elements that fingerprint me, but not all are present in every book: examples include family, horror, suspense, love, strength, humanity, action, and reality breaking down.

Opal is a long overdue kickass strong female character, tell me about her?

She’s flawed. She’s not all-powerful. She has a depth of emotion that she dare not reveal easily. She’s righteously angry. She’s quick-thinking. She hurts. All of that means she’s human. There’s no guarantee that she’ll survive what she faces, but we want her to, because she’s noble when she can be. We root for her. She’s a Greek warrior hero, a female mix of Achilles and Odysseus. A mortal Athena (Athene). She can do what we only wish we could do. But with a hero’s achievements there can be a hero’s suffering.

Is she based on anyone you know?

Strangely, no. Many of my female characters are based on women I’ve known and admired. A reader wouldn’t know it, and the inspiring women wouldn’t necessarily recognise themselves in the characters, but I could easily say who they were. Opal is different. She grew as I wrote her. She redefined herself in the flow of words.

I loved the AI (artificial intelligence) and the relationship between the two, what made you go for an AI?

In my story notes the AI was sexless and emotionless. A pure representation of efficiency, directed towards the purpose of killing by the (originally-male) protagonist. In fact, the AI was in the form of a companion robot. But as I wrote dialogue, things would pop into my head. Weird things; clever things; humorous things, but possibly overlaying either innocence or malice. That was irresistible to me as a writer. So I let the dialogue flow and the AI began to define herself. In my original notes I hadn’t even decided if the AI was going to be good or bad. That revelation just happened.

When I started reading this, I kept thinking Event Horizon type movie with a cross of Alien, particularly the AI. Was that intentional?

Yes, they were definite influences. Not so much events, but ideas – creepy abandoned ships in space; people surviving on ingenuity when technology fails; malevolent dangers that are difficult to comprehend because they are so alien to us. Works that I respect leave me with a feeling; it’s a feeling I then try to recreate in my own worlds, so other readers can experience it. I think at one point I made a list of works that had in some way influenced me, and maybe an element of which had crept into Lost Solace. I probably had about a hundred things on the list. It’s similar to what I once did with Turner.

Lost Solace left a lot of unanswered questions, for me anyway, was that intentional and will fans get closure?

Yes to closure. A book that opens a series can be difficult. You don’t want to bind it in the darkness of exposition. Discovering Opal’s motivation is a reward. The other questions are left unanswered because, at this point, Opal doesn’t have the answers, and we generally see through her eyes. But by the end of book three – if she survives – she’ll have more answers than she ever wanted, and knowledge does not always make you happy. The reader will find out the full deal on the Lost Ships and all the other elements of the story, and the outcome may not be what you expect.

What are you working on just now?

A lot of my time is spent on writing-related activity at the moment: finding the perfect narrator for the Lost Solace audiobook, running a big promo (that got Lost Solace to #3 in Amazon’s UK sci-fi top 100!), submissions for a writing residency and prestigious prizes, and some editorial work for other authors. I’m also revamping one of my early books, 2000 Tunes, and hoping to get draft two of a new short-story collection finished. I’m also drafting out my storyboard for the sequels to Lost Solace so that when I come to write them (hopefully in the nearish future!) the first drafts will be clean and well-structured.

What kind of research do you do for this kind of book? Keeping in mind Sci Fi fans are hardcore and can be uber critical, does that make it easier or harder for you?

It didn’t feel much different from any other work I’ve written. I always do preliminary research while storyboarding, but then write the first draft and just fill in the gaps with my imagination, so as not to break the flow. Then there is a lot more research and fact-checking during the numerous rewrites. With Turner I stayed on a remote island for a week; with 2000 Tunes I researched the history of Manchester music, and the city centre layout in the year 2000; whereas with Lost Solace I was researching repair gels, ship layouts, and biological sensing systems. Luckily my degrees mean I have some background in astronomy, geology, natural science, information science and computing, so that helped shape my story. I think there was only one correction that needed making to the real science aspect.

Where can fans connect with you?

My website and blog can be found at http://karldrinkwater.uk and it links to everything else. I am active on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/ and Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater and regularly interact with everyone there. Superfans also sign up to my quirky newsletter at http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

Anything else you would like to add I may have forgotten?

I love hearing from people. Only today I had a long email from someone who had just read Lost Solace, and it was fascinating because it was their first book set in space. It gave me a good glimpse into how that alters the reader’s expectations. Luckily they loved the book. I’m surprised you didn’t bring cats and dogs into the conversation. Thanks for having me!

And if a fabulous Q&A wasn't enough for spoiling you guys, I am giving away my copy of "Lost Solace" - to enter just fill in the Rafflecopter as usual. The more entries you complete the more times your name is entered into the draw.

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